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Leadership Council hosts legislators, aviation industry leaders, workforce development Q&A

Photos by MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE/Illinois Business Journal


Area legislators took part in a panel discussion at last month’s Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois board of directors meeting. Participating in the Illinois Legislators Forum were, from left, state Sen. Erica Harriss (R-Edwardsville), state Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton), state Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) and state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea). Leadership Council Executive Director Kyle Anderson can also be seen to the far left as he poses a question to the legislator panel.


The room was at near capacity for the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois board of directors meeting last month as a panel of Illinois legislators provided updates to those in attendance. Introducing the Illinois Legislators Forum panelists, which included state Sen. Erica Harriss (R-Edwardsville), state Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton), state Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) and state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) was LCSWIL Board Member and Attorney-at-Law Thomas E. Berry of Jackson Lewis P.C.


Boeing’s Joseph Meyer, field marketing lead for Scott Air Force Base Strategic Marketing Office, shares company updates with attendees during the Aug. 22 Aviation Industry Update hosted by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois that morning at DoubleTree Collinsville. Boeing continues making substantial investment and impact throughout the Southwestern Illinois region, and Meyer noted that a new Metro East 300,000-square-foot facility that is on the way will bring with it roughly 300 jobs.


The second presenter at the Aug. 22 Aviation Industry Update hosted by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois was Gulfstream Public Affairs Director Kyle Redner. He shared company updates and regional investments, while noting the need for strengthening the workforce pipeline as did all of the industry presenters at the event.


Brian Bauwens, West Star Aviation’s general manager for its East Alton facility, led attendees through some highlights about what the company offers to the region in terms of economic impact, workforce development and employment opportunities. West Star, along with Boeing, Gulfstrean, and the regional airports, all welcome the chance to further invest in the future economy of the region and invited attendees to engage in dialogue with them.


Scott Raether was the fourth presenter at the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Aviation Industry Update on Aug. 22 at the DoubleTree in Collinsville. Raether is the employment program manager at Scott Air Force Base’s Military & Family Readiness Center. In addition to the myriad of services the Center provides to active military and their families at Scott AFB, they also have programs and funds available to veterans to help connect, return, and stay in the region.


Following the Aviation Industry Update, the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois hosted a Q&A session with a panel of professionals actively engaged in the region’s workforce development. Event attendees were able to ask questions regarding what they had just heard from the aviation industry leaders immediately before the Q&A session began. Taking part as panelists for the discussion were, shown from the left: Matt Harter, Southwestern Illinois College’s coordinator/assistant professor of Aviation Maintenance Technology; Keith Mueller, Southwestern Illinois College’s program coordinator for Aviation Pilot Training/Aviation Management; Dr. Ken Trzaska, president of Lewis and Clark Community College; United States Navy Recruiter Samuel Vader; St. Louis Downtown Airport Director Sandra Shore; St. Louis Regional Airport Director Danny Adams; Collinsville Area Vocational Center Director Joe McGinnis; MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Interim Director Darren James; Rick Stubblefield, executive director of St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants & Economic Development Departments: and Madison County Employment & Training Director Tony Fuhrmann.


Some of these photos also appear in the September 2023 print edition of the Illinois Business Journal.

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